Recently I had a well-meaning individual tell me that he knew someone who might want a job in sales; and that they could sell snake oil. It did not hit me until I hung up the telephone, but I do not hire people who can sell snake oil.
To be great in sales role, you do not need to be a slick talker, a conniver, or someone who strong arms someone into making a decision. That is manipulation.
What you do need to be great in sales is quite the opposite. You need to be good at asking questions that matter to the guest. Why are they interested? What need will it fill for them to buy your product? What is it important to them? What is their timeline to make a purchase? What is their budget? Who will the product be for?
The salesperson needs to be a good listener. Listening to the guest’s response to the questions, and truly understanding the guest, will assist them in making a good decision or avoiding a bad decision. Some people only listen on the surface and can’t wait to say what they want to say. These types don’t make it in a professional sales role.
A great salesperson needs to be ethical and genuine. Ethics are a deal breaker for me. You might be “great” but if you are low on ethics, I am not interested. When a person stands on solid ground ethically, they cannot be moved by bribes, spiffs, or anything else that may be in it for them — or by bending the rules or worse – the law.
Lastly, the people who work for me aren’t busy trying to be someone else. They are genuine. Because they are comfortable being themselves, the guests that they serve are also comfortable with them. There is a refreshing authenticity to a person who is genuine and they are able to build trust very quickly. Once they have built trust, the guest gives the salesperson the freedom to be creative. When a salesperson is creative, they find solutions to the guest’s needs that might not have been on the surface. A guest who does not trust their salesperson will never be free to allow the salesperson to creative.
So, a great salesperson leads people in the way they already want to go by asking questions, listening intently, being ethical, being genuine, and being creative. In doing these things, there is not much snake oil being sold.